Guys seem to clearly be at a loss with women these days, and the fact is we’ve changed the game at warped speed, so you can’t blame them for being a bit confused. Ever since World War II when the guys went off to war, and women in the U.S. got their first real opportunity to prove their worth working outside the home, we have slowly but surely destroyed the old notion of gender roles and annihilated the “traditional marriage” as a real model to aspire to in this lifetime. So where does that leave us today?
Well, I think we really have to analyze what we want in a partnership, and once we form that union, we have to be okay with the pact we’ve made. According to the authors of “The Good Marriage,” there are 4 typical marriage structures:
(1) The traditional marriage- where the husband is the breadwinner and wife takes care of the home and kids;
(2) Love at first sight- where this couple truly believes their meeting was some magical occurrence created by fate, and this is the glue that binds them;
(3) The savior role- where one party comes to the rescue of the other, and they both continue to enjoy this dynamic where one is the other’s caretaker;
(4) The marriage of equals- these are typically friends, with similar educational backgrounds that fall in love overtime, and they continue to believe in an equal division of tasks and responsibilities for everything.
Well, over the last 15 years as a divorce lawyer, I’ve seen all 4 of these marriage types fall apart, and here is why:
(1) In the traditional marriage, there is simply too much pressure placed on the man to provide, and meanwhile the parties leading two completely different lives will force them to drift apart. Resentment kicks in for both if they don’t value the other’s contributions, and eventually one or the other is highly likely to “step out” to seek fulfillment elsewhere.
(2) With love at first sight, too many people have gotten burned in the past by falling for someone way too fast. Thankfully, with the rise of the internet and people routinely getting busted for falsifying information, few are willing to put their guards down so quickly, and meanwhile it’s been drilled into us that there are plenty of fish in the sea.
(3) It gets really old to always have to save someone. We all need help every now and then, but it is incredibly taxing to routinely have to play the role of savior. More people are starting to realize that their role as an enabler in this co-dependent relationship is unhealthy (thanks in large part to groups like Al-Anon) and so it’s not surprising that one day the savior will often choose to walk away.
(4) The egalitarian marriage is usually stable for many years– until kids come into the mix. When struggling to share the child-rearing responsibilities while also managing your careers, if you disturb that wonderful balance, you run into some serious risks. If you don’t quickly try to restore that balance in your division of labor, you will probably find yourself with one pretty pissed off feminist, and as the saying goes… hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
So, is there really such a thing as a good marriage? I do believe there is, but it hinges on the parties being fully cognizant of the pact they have entered into and appreciating each other’s contributions. Both partners have to have a realistic expectation of their arrangement, and they need to keep checking in with one another to make sure things continue to run smoothly. Too often I’m afraid women marry men expecting they can change them, and men marry women thinking they won’t change. Nothing could be farther from reality.
On a lighter note, here’s a short, funny video that a friend sent to me this weekend. This comedian totally nails the answer to the question about whether women today are asking for too much:
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.